Just when you thought this year couldn’t possibly get any worse, a new strain of swine flu has been discovered in China.
The strain has been designated as the G4 virus by Chinese researchers. It is carried by pigs but can infect humans as well.
According to an article published on Monday in the scientific journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, G4 has been around in pigs for years and has already infected people in Hebei and Shandong provinces.
While it is not believed to be able to move from human to human, experts worry that it could soon mutate further and do exactly that, declaring that G4 has all the essential hallmarks of a potential pandemic virus.
The virus is descended from the H1N1 swine flu that killed 150,000 to 575,000 people around the world during a global pandemic in 2009.
Experts say that while G4 is not an immediate problem, it does require strict monitoring to ensure that it does not turn into another world health tragedy.